Selling Pennsylvania by the pound...
#1
… along with West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and any other place where part of the real estate is made-up of coal.
In the time frame that many of us model, up to the late 1950's, commercial coal dealers were found in all large cities and most small towns, as most homes and businesses were heated by coal furnaces. Movement of this commodity was an important source of revenue for the railroads, and as such, can be an important source of traffic for our model railroads.
A coal dealer can be an operation as simple as a gas-powered elevator on a teamtrack, or as elaborate as banks of concrete siloes, either one using wagons or trucks to deliver the coal. While businesses and factories might buy their fuel by the ton or by the truckload, many home deliveries consisted of a few 100 pound bags at a time.
Here are a few photos that may give you some ideas for a way to include this common industry on your layout.

Hoffentoth Bros. Coal & Ice has an outlet in every town and city on my layout, even though not all are modelled. Because coal was in large part a seasonal commodity, most coal dealers supplemented their income by offering other products in the off-season. Ice, for home iceboxes, or even commercial uses, was a common choice, as were sand and gravel, or lumber and building supplies. Many of Hoffentoth's locations also included ice houses.
   

Both the coal bins and the icehouses were usually built to a common plan for small towns, while larger towns and cities would have a design appropriate to the location. In Elfrida, both are located on the same siding. In the summer, ice would arrive in ice service reefers, shipped from a central storage facility, and be transferred to the local icehouse. From here it would be delivered to customers around town by truck or horse-drawn wagon. In the winter, most of the rail traffic on this siding would be hoppers full of either Anthracite or soft coal, which would be dumped into a pit under the track. Here, the pit is covered by steel plates which are lifted out of the way before the hopper doors are opened. The coal drops into the pit, then is lifted into the storage bins by an elevator inside the bin building.
   

Inside the storage area are several pockets where the various types and sizes of coal are kept separate. Here's a view of the Lowbanks branch. The icehouse here is in a different part of town, as it's the main storage facility that ships ice to all of the smaller towns on the layout. The small building is the office, and the overhanging roof on the side away from the tracks is above the chutes used for loading the trucks.
   

The yards are fenced to keep the area secure and to prevent pilferage:
   

This view of the South Cayuga yard shows the truck-loading side of the building, with the chutes beneath the canopy:
   

And a truck leaving to make some deliveries:
   

Hoffentoth Bros. don't have a monopoly on the coal business around here, though. Hoffentoth's yard in Dunnville is not modelled, but that of their competitor, Creechan’s Fine Fuels, is. Here's their head office, on Liberty Street:
   

And a view through their main gate, into the yard:
   

This shot shows a couple of hoppers being spotted on the dump track, elevated and rebuilt extensively when the Grand Valley's then-parent NYC completed a grade-separation project through downtown Dunnville in the mid-20's:
   

A peek inside the dumpshed:
   

Here's an aerial view of the yard, courtesy of Barney Secord's Crop Dusting and Aerial Photography Services. The driver of the truck on the left is in the scalehouse, centre, getting his paperwork. The truck on the right is being loaded with gravel by a crew with shovels and a gas-powered elevator:
   

Here's a look at the truck scale and scalehouse:
   

A truck, ready to take out a delivery:
   

And a final look:
   

I hope that these views of some coal dealerships on my layout will encourage you to include your own version of this interesting industry on your layout.

Wayne
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#2
Wow...
...prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits...

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#3
Hi Doc---for a second ,I thought you we're talking about the Flyers and Penguins hockey game 35 35 35 --- great pictures and story regarding a hot commodity on the EG&E---often double-headers were required to move those black diamonds---here's a shot from the past showing a couple of CNR 2-10-2's crossing the Speed River with a long train of solid hoppers

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#4
Wayne, Thanks for starting this thread here. Maybe some others will post some photos too.
Charlie
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#5
Third picture down, that's a neat horse drawn wagon. Amish?
Liberty street looks like a ghost town.... a very, very CLEAN ghost town! 357 Thumbsup
Nice touch on the scale house with the guy-wires for the chimney although a bit on the thick side... perhaps they are not guy-wires at all but steel rods. That big ol' chimney gives the impression that that is where everybody heads to get warm when it's howling cold outside.
Scotland shall rise again!
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#6
McGillicutty Wrote:Third picture down, that's a neat horse drawn wagon. Amish?
Liberty street looks like a ghost town.... a very, very CLEAN ghost town! 357 Thumbsup
Nice touch on the scale house with the guy-wires for the chimney although a bit on the thick side... perhaps they are not guy-wires at all but steel rods. That big ol' chimney gives the impression that that is where everybody heads to get warm when it's howling cold outside.


That wagon is simply a delivery wagon, from Jordan Products. I haven't yet decided what's being delivered, so no lettering on the side. Goldth Liberty St. is pretty quiet, although it does dead-end at the tracks. Trucks and wagons from Creechan's and trucks from Bertram's Machine Works, across the street, make up the bulk of the traffic. Pedestrian traffic is limited to the office staff at both businesses, and the yard workers at Creechan's. (Bertram's production workers enter off Walnut St., one block south.)
Here's a view showing the dead-end, sorta:
   

And Bertram's, on the opposite side of Liberty St. - that's the Post Office side entrance, beyond the underpass:
   

Here's an overview of Bertram's, showing the shop employees' entrance on Walnut St. (Photo courtesy of Secord Air Services):
   

You're right about the steel rods on that chimney - those stovepipes made from sprue often need extra support. Wink Misngth

Wayne
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#7
Here's the Hamilton Model Works Coal Dealer. It's a pole-barn style shed common in Southern Ontario (Ian Wilson's books have a few shots of similar structures). The high doors face the tracks, with the low doors available for loading trucks or wagons.

Andrew


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#8
Nice work on that coal shed, Andrew. Thumbsup For anyone who's interested, here's a link to Hamilton Model Works, a small "basement" manufacturer. Andrew's HO scale kit is comprised of pre-cut stripwood and corrugated metal panels, while the N scale version is a one piece Hydrocal casting.

Wayne
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#9
Thanks Wayne for the kind words, and the link to HMW. Brian Martin from HMW is a great guy - I have several of his models, and he is always happy to answer my questions about the prototype... Thumbsup Big Grin

I made an N-scale version for a friend by reducing the plans on a photocopier and employing the same scribed wood/dowel approach from the HO kit. Since his layout needed something a little more worn down, I weathered it more heavily, and hacked away the bottoms of the doors. I also rusted the roof more severely, and even put a hole in it... Eek

The metal roofing is made by squashing foil between two pieces of SCSI computer ribbon cable. Somewhat oversized for N-scale, but looks ok to me... Wink

Andrew


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#10
Nice job on that one, too, Andrew. Thumbsup I especially like the simulated rot along the bottoms of the doors. The roofing material is not necessarily over-size, either: most people are familiar with corrugated roofing and siding, but many don't realise that it's available in different styles and widths of corrugations. Much of the stuff for commercial applications was also thicker than a homeowner would use, and came in lengths much longer that the 4' stuff which is readily available.

Wayne
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#11
Thanks Wayne! Big Grin

Andrew
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#12
Hello Everyone---despite it's location in the industrial part of Dunnville,Liberty Street is a favourite spot for local train-watchers.Where else can you find main-line freights,switching operations, and passenger consists on the elevated high-line all in the same area

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#13
Great Pictures Guys. Cheers
Matthew Miller
Norfolk Southern Cyclopedia
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I can smell a steam post ten blocks away, and when I do, clear the tracks because the steam express will be hi ballin through
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#14
doctorwayne Wrote:Nice work on that coal shed, Andrew. Thumbsup For anyone who's interested, here's a link to Hamilton Model Works, a small "basement" manufacturer. Andrew's HO scale kit is comprised of pre-cut stripwood and corrugated metal panels, while the N scale version is a one piece Hydrocal casting.

Wayne

Alas, Hamilton Model Works is no more, at least the web site is gone, and Dave Cool of Canadian Express Lines (vendor) says:

Quote:HAMILTON MODEL WORKS

...........is no more. Sorry to say, this small manufacturer of fine
Canadian structure kits has ceased operation. All I have left in stock are
the following kit and detail parts

Sad Sad Sad

Andrew
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#15
Too bad, :cry: he offered some unique and useful stuff.

Wayne
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